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Just what has Microsoft been doing for IE 7? 354

Posted by timothy
from the i-e-is-a-scream dept.
Jeff Reifman writes "Last week, Windows columnist Paul Thurrott ripped into Microsoft for ignoring CSS standards with its upcoming Internet Explorer 7.0. "Microsoft has set back Web development by an immeasurable amount of time. My advice is simple: Boycott IE. It's a cancer on the Web that must be stopped. IE isn't secure and isn't standards-compliant, which makes it unworkable both for end users and Web content creators." With the redesign of my own site last month, I discovered just how non-compliant IE is with basic CSS: IE 52% vs. Firefox 93%. Is Microsoft purely incompetent and tone-deaf to customers — or simply counting on IE's non-compliance remaining a de-facto standard?"
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Just what has Microsoft been doing for IE 7?

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  • by WaZiX (766733) on Monday August 07, 2006 @02:47PM (#15860958)
    I use Firefox to design websites and imagine a web with a multitude of CSS and PNG transparency... Then of course comes the time when I open it in IE 6... And I start hating making webpages again. Thank you Microsoft, really.
  • Re:Boycott (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GigsVT (208848) on Monday August 07, 2006 @02:49PM (#15860969) Journal
    Just code to the standards and screw the users?

    Yes.

    Maybe you weren't around then, but it didn't bother people one bit to put "Best viewed in Netscape" or "Best viewer in IE" on their site.

    "Best viewed in any W3C compliant browser" is even less burdonsome for end users, and is not some incomprehensible thing, it has tons of precedent.

    I've never had a user have any serious problems with the sites I design, once I explain to them that it's their browser that is broken, not the site.
  • by eln (21727) on Monday August 07, 2006 @02:54PM (#15860995) Homepage
    How about publishing Windows without a browser and allowing OEMs to choose what browser to bundle? Most people are going to be getting Vista bundled with their machines anyway, your average person doesn't upgrade their OS unless they're upgrading their computer anymore.

    While some OEMs may choose to bundle IE7 anyway, I think that if Microsoft is barred from any reprisals, most OEMs are sick enough of Microsoft's pressure tactics over the years that they may choose to bundle something else, with the most obvious winner probably being Firefox (since it's the only other browser most people would have heard of).
  • by Jetson (176002) on Monday August 07, 2006 @03:08PM (#15861095) Homepage
    When Google announced that they were going to start offering an alternative search for blind people that rates sites based on how well they comply to the W3C usability standards, I really thought they might follow up with a search engine that rates the results according to general standards compliance. I'd love to see "works in any browser" sites on the first page and "IE-only" sites on page 10.... Suddenly all of those commercial sites would have an incentive to make their sites work instead of just making them flash-y.
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi AT smokingcube DOT be> on Monday August 07, 2006 @03:15PM (#15861124) Homepage
    Really, they made a good step in the direction with W2K and later with XP it was nice for end users and W2K3 is bearable but wtf are they doing with Vista. There is nothing exasperatingly new (like usage of the NT kernel in W2K) or a breakthrough in GUI (as with the speed of the GUI in XP) or a sysadmin-friendly environment (as in W2K3). In fact, nothing has really changed, a little GUI painted on but that's it.

    IE7 still not W3C compliant or anywhere near there, still giant loopholes in the OS. Still using NTFS instead of the promised WinFS.

    I was really (as an MS hater) looking forward to maybe a change within Microsoft since WGates left (and we all know a lot of work goes before the actual announcement) and Vista coming out and having promising features announced, but I can't see anything of that in their new OS.

    As for a change, Stevie is announcing stuff at some convention and I am astounded. I mean, I didn't know they could do a lot more improvements in 10.4, but look at the Leopard Sneak Preview and a versioning file system and all kinds of other neat stuff... and that's right after a devving freeze in Vista which was supposed to copy some neat features out of OS X 10.3, maybe even 10.4, heck they could even copy stuff out of KDE for all I care, it still look better.

    Microsoft (Gates or Ballmer, whoever has the power): I am very disappointed in you guys. I work in a mixed environment (Linux, Windows, Mac) and I have heard things in that my company (which has a bigass license with you) moving to Mac's for some non-critical users (that only need Office and to surf the intranet). If Apple pulls it off and actually builds in Win32 support in their OS, you are going to become just another SCO within a few years.
  • Re:Boycott (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2006 @03:47PM (#15861348)
    Until it's a site they really need or want to use, Google and Yahoo for example, i think have enough power to make people use a different browser. It's going to take the big internet players to boycott IE 7, they're going to have to have the balls to do it, which I doubt they do.

  • by tux_fairy (907230) on Monday August 07, 2006 @04:08PM (#15861547)
    Why can't US govenment, and any other government pass a bill into senate that it is illegal to distribute the browser that is not fully CSS2 compliant? It's no different than having specs on car safety and emission rules.
  • Woof woof (Score:4, Interesting)

    by davmoo (63521) on Monday August 07, 2006 @04:25PM (#15861649)
    Whether you all like it or not (and note that I use Firefox myself), Microsoft Internet Explod...um...Explorer is the proverbial tail that wags the dog. In the minds of the great majority of computer users, Microsoft *sets* the standard, not breaks it, and you will not convince them otherwise. You can whine and moan all you want, but I got 5 bucks that says when IE7 rolls out, we start seeing a new round of sites that work *only* in IE7, and when you complain the response will be words to the effect of "get a real browser like everyone else uses".
  • by Kennego (963972) on Monday August 07, 2006 @04:35PM (#15861725)
    A great idea, but think about the kind of people that would use an additional search engine like that... I bet they don't use IE unless they're forced to, already.

    For this to work, google needs to incorporate this into their main search engine, so that websites MUST be standards compliant or probably never make it to the first page of results. I don't think google would do this, unfortunately, must it'd be cool if they did. And if they can make one for the blind, they can surely make one for overall standards compliance.

    But really, this is still a great idea, and it'd still help with whatever percentage (somewhere around 20% or something?) of users that don't use IE. That still may be enough to get website makers to start doing the right thing.
  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Monday August 07, 2006 @04:49PM (#15861847) Homepage

    I would love to see an automatically self-updating Gecko ActiveX control. Any IE user who visits my sites (or dozens of other sites that mandate it), would simply have to click "Yes" once (ever), and then the user would be using the newest version of Gecko to render the pages automatically.

    IE could be effectively marginalized that way.

  • by doodlebumm (915920) on Monday August 07, 2006 @04:53PM (#15861882)
    If both Google and Yahoo did this, there would be massive web development work going on, and there would be a number of advertisers on both sites that would start to pull there advertising dollars away. I think that it would be very good to just mark sites initially and notify all their advertisers that they are "going to start to lower the search position of any non-compliant site as of *some-date-here*". This would strengthen their position to be able to do it, and not piss of their paying customers.
  • by Phraghg (984220) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:04PM (#15861978)
    Seriously, standards mean little or nothing. All I know is, clients don't care if the site they paid for is compliant or not. They just care that it looks good, and works right. Which implies that I only care that it looks good and works right.
    Believe it or not, but I still get people complaining when things don't work right for Mac I.E. 4.0X. And the sad thing is one of the people who requested Mac I.E. 4.0X compliance was running OSX on a PowerMac G5. I tried to get him to switch to Safari, but alas it was to no avail.
    When you can't get a Mac user running OSX to switch to something other than Internet Explorer, you have a problem. But more importantly it tells you something about the desktop/consumer market and why open source software hasn't really been that successful. Firefox is argubly the most successful open source software, but even it has limited marketshare.
    The problem doesn't exist with Microsoft, the problem exists between the computer and keyboard.
  • by xdc (8753) * on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:22PM (#15862116) Journal
    Is the article by Paul Thurrott still accurate? It is not from last week -- it is a year old! Perhaps Microsoft has made IE7 more standards-compliant since then.
  • by Temujin_12 (832986) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:24PM (#15862127)
    I interviewed for a IE7 CSS job at Microsoft about four months ago. Coming from a web development background, I was curious as to how they would present their goals/problems with meeting CSS standards. I was well aware of the "code it to standard, view in IE, and cry" web development cycle.

    One of the team leads (sorry don't know how high up of a team lead he was) actually said that often when people say IE is rendering something incorrectly it is actually IE that is doing it correctly while all of the other browsers are rendering it incorrectly. I could tell he was looking at how I would respond to that statement. I just sat there and didn't move. While in some cases that may be true, I knew that was an arrogant lie, and was just enough for me to stop caring about the interview. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. Fortunately, I had already interviewed for another job, which I've since been hired at, which is much better.

    Two points here:
    1- With team leads holding that kind of attitude (and touting it during interviews), no wonder IE is the quagmire it is. They're more used to making standards, not adhering to them.
    2- Yes, recent college CS grads can find a job! I actually had 2 1/2 offers after only 4 interviews. Just develop your skill set (more than what they teach you in class) and learn how to communicate in *English* not just C, C++, Perl, etc.
  • by phiber_phreak (719398) on Monday August 07, 2006 @05:52PM (#15862308)
    Does anyone know if IE7 will fix the absolute worst behavior in IE -- closing TCP connections with RST rather than FIN?

    This bad behavior:

    --exists in IE6 and earlier

    --violates RFC 793 sections 3.4 and 3.5

    --ties up LOTS of memory in zillions of stateful devices (firewalls, VPN gateways, L4 and L7 load balancers, and on and on)

    --does not belong to the MS TCP/IP stack, since other applications (eg, telnet) close connections properly

    I haven't played with IE7 yet. Someone please tell me MS has finally addressed this abomination.
  • by Ucklak (755284) on Monday August 07, 2006 @06:48PM (#15862641)
    I am really unaware of any 'support' issues that Firefox has. Notepad works and works well. Wordpad works almost as good. Firefox works way better than IE and I've never had an issue with notepad or Firefox.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday August 07, 2006 @07:03PM (#15862749)

    Ask yourself this: when you write code in C++ or Java or Perl, do you blindly guess what might work? No, you look up the language features and APIs that are documented to do what you need done, and you use them.

    And then you discover that no compiler on the planet actually meets the C++ standard and silly little things don't work on someone's current compiler, Java is frequently a write-once, debug-everywhere platform, and many Perl modules in CPAN aren't nearly as platform-agnostic as they claimed.

    If you want things to work, de facto standards you can actually test against are worth more than theoretical, formal specifications any day. But of course, both are merely a means to an end, and useful exactly as far as they help you to achieve your objective at the time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:25PM (#15863118)
    Web designers just keep getting the shaft from Microsoft. But the way they act you'd think they were all gay and wanted the big M-rod again. They just can't give up their IE.

    I've given up and gone over completely to HTML 3.2 and no Javascript and, for the first time, known true freedom, albeit within a limited world.

    Everything in HTML 3.2 works as documented. All browsers can handle it. Crawlers can crawl my pages. The WWW is faster and my pages shorter so refreshes are quick, especially in a good browser like Opera. I don't have to worry about AJAX cracks, ActiveX, or Java bugs. I'm not wasting time on cross-browser hacks anymore, I can concentrate on working applications or pages. Life is good.

  • Re:Auto-boycot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SyncNine (532248) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:28AM (#15867123)
    This just furthers Microsoft's point of keeping IE's non-compliance as a de-facto standard.

    What you just said, in simpler terms is:

    Microsoft's browser can't render CSS properly.
    Don't complain about it or try to get it to change.
    Don't try and get your userbase to upgrade.
    Work around it, instead.


    So, I write standards compliant code. You're telling me to break my code JUST so it looks good on some toolsack's browser who hasn't updated since IE5.5!? Further proof people should have to take an exam to be allowed on the internet.

    PS - Spend the five minutes and get a *REAL* browser! http://www.opera.com/ [opera.com] or http://www.mozilla.com./ [www.mozilla.com] I have absolutely no pity for idiots who complain about how this site and that site don't look right on their browser and how they'll browse somewhere else. Tell you what, if you're too lazy to upgrade to a real browser, I don't *want* you to view my website. GTF on.

    Karma be damned, people like you who can't spend 30 seconds to make sure their computer is actually running properly shouldn't be able to use them.

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.

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